Invoice to Streamline Transit, Bike, Pedestrian Initiatives Sails Via to the Governor – Streetsblog California
Notice: GJEL Accident Attorneys often sponsors protection on Streetsblog San Francisco and Streetsblog California. Until famous within the story, GJEL Accident Attorneys is just not consulted for the content material or editorial course of the sponsored content material.
As we speak, on the final day of a loopy busy legislative session, a bill from Senator Scott Wiener that aims at making planning and building clean, sustainable transportation projects handed its closing vote within the Senate and is headed to the governor for his signature.
Governor Newsom has till the tip of September to signal or veto it.
S.B. 288 mainly acknowledges that sure sorts of transportation tasks – that assist make transit extra dependable and quicker, for instance – don’t trigger detrimental environmental impacts. The invoice would exempt sure transportation tasks from having to bear a time-consuming, costly course of simply to show this, when on the face of it their final impact could be to decrease emissions.
“S.B. 288 will soar begin and velocity up sustainable transportation tasks like mild rail and bus lanes, secure streets infrastructure like protected bike lanes and pedestrian security tasks, and EV charging stations for buses,” wrote Senator Wiener in an announcement. “It’s going to do this by including these tasks to the record of CEQA statutory exemptions to speed up most of California’s sustainable transportation tasks and make their approval and development processes extra streamlined and cost-effective. It’s also an financial restoration invoice that might make it simpler to construct vital infrastructure tasks and create jobs.”
The invoice’s provisions would solely be in impact for a couple of years, till 2023, which imposes a fairly strict deadline. Most such tasks take a really very long time to plan, so this invoice could also be most helpful to tasks which can be already within the works, or already embarking on the lengthy California Environmental High quality Act evaluation course of.
Gwen Litvak, of the Bay Space Council, one of many invoice’s sponsors, known as S.B. 288 a “no-cost stimulus” invoice, saying “there are tasks able to go, and a have to get these tasks going.”
“We’d like to have the ability to transfer safely exterior,” she stated, “and we have to get extra folks biking and ensure that bus service is extra reliable, extra dependable, and quicker.”
S.B. 288’s CEQA exemptions would apply to pedestrian and bicycle services like lanes and sidewalks, buyer data and wayfinding tasks (for transit riders, bicyclists, or pedestrians), and transit prioritization tasks. They might additionally apply to changing present freeway lanes to bus-only lanes, creating bus speedy transit and light-weight rail tasks together with stations, and zero-emission charging infrastructure.
Additionally: tasks that cut back minimal parking necessities, which have been shown to encourage driving, could be exempt.
To earn the exemption, tasks need to be in urbanized areas, inside present rights of approach, and can’t embrace any enhance in capability for vehicles. They usually can not contain demolishing any inexpensive housing models.
The invoice would prolong an identical present exemption for bicycle plans till 2030, and exempt these plans from having to mitigate impacts they’ve on automobile visitors.
An early model of the invoice – which is relative, because it was solely launched in June – included an exemption for changing freeway lanes for use for carpool or toll lanes. That was eliminated on the suggestion of the Meeting Pure Sources Committee, and it was a mandatory deletion. Now the invoice focuses solely on transit, bike, and pedestrian tasks, giving no exemption for automobile journey.
It’s a tiny starting in the direction of balancing the scales.